Mosquitoes wreak havoc in Mutare suburbs

MUTARE - Cockroaches, rats and crows are maybe standout beneficiaries of urban sprawl. But in Mutare — so are mosquitoes.

Erratic water supplies have seen people digging up wells and keeping water in open containers, in a way transforming homes into mosquito breeding grounds.

The situation is particularly worse in the eastern border city’s most populous suburb, Dangamvura.

And in trying to fight the bugs by extensive all-year round use of pesticides, the eastern border city’s residents may as well be poisoning themselves, experts say.

Relying mostly on burnt repellent incense, many residents interviewed by the Daily News on Sunday are expressing concern over the safety of the foreign-made and often smuggled mosquito coils.

George Mtisi said most families inhale pesticides daily which could have dire health consequences over time.

“Mosquitoes are an all-year round problem particularly in Dangamvura where residents get water every other day and have to rely on water containers and ponds making burning mosquito coils a nightly ritual.

“We don’t know what chemicals are there and what continued exposure means to our health but what is obvious is that we are poisoning ourselves,” Mtisi said.

He said while locally-produced coils may be safer as they would have been produced in line with government regulations they were not as effective.

“The mosquitoes appear resistant to locally-manufactured coils and we are now mostly using imported products,” Mtisi said.

Chinese-produced black mosquito coils are a particular hit here.

Juliet Gwenzi another Dangamvura resident says while she now mostly uses the Chinese product, she remains concerned about safety.

“Most locally-produced coils are not as effective but you cannot ignore the fact that the black coils may as well have too many chemicals,” Gwenzi says.

“We are inhaling these poisons daily and we don’t know what the implications will be over time but they certainly will kill us some day.”

Moses Chimedza of Sustainable Environmental Conservation Trust (SECT) warns that in the absence of concrete data on the long-term effect of exposure to the insecticides people should not be over dependent on mosquito coils.

“People should find other ways of controlling mosquitoes like surface sprays and controlling their breeding grounds because it’s obvious that coils are poisonous and their accumulation in the human body will have adverse health complications,” cautioned Chimedza.

He said while council should ultimately be responsible for controlling the blood-sucking insects, residents should take the initiative to control them if they are to avoid suffering in the long-term.

“Council may be responsible for the mosquito problem but residents are the ones who are suffering more and should just be proactive by investing in fighting mosquitoes themselves instead of risking their health.

“In the end, they stand to suffer huge financial losses in managing diseases,” Chimedza said.

Amos Chikato an independent environmentalist said while the area does not have a high incidence of malaria, the proliferation of the insects posed a potent risk to future mosquito-borne diseases.

“Mosquitoes as a vector of disease should never be tolerated and we hope government would step in soon,” Chikato said.

Efforts to get a comment from ministry of Health and Child Care were not fruitful by the time of going to press.

Within the Sadc region, an estimated 20 million malaria episodes and between 300 000 and 400 000 malaria deaths are recorded annually, according to ministry of Health statistics.

“Unless the country deals decisively with vector control, we will not control malaria due to global warming. Malaria can only spread into new territories like Mutare,” said Chiketo.

Comments (4)

Dangamvura area is a neglected suburb, garbage is not collected, water supply erratic, there is a lot of garbage surrounding the whole of Dangamvura within the residential, heath staff members who use to patrol inspecting residential are nowhere to be seen yangovenjake njake, noone is responsible in this whole neglected suburb , we do not even sleep because of mosquito bits whether they cause malaria or not but biting is painful, the noise irritates we are living in hell in Dangamvura

mtisi sarah - 14 November 2016

Diamond FM and Manica Post don't even look into these health matters thats their duty they just worst time passing useless jokes instead of important issues like the health hazard in Mutare especially Dangamvura suburd come on man thanks to the daily news for the published mosquito, flies, rats etc raking havoc in Dangamvura even the air smells garbage we are breathing carbon monoxide

EZKEILMUTODA - 14 November 2016

Thanks a billlion times Newsdays for publishing this story hidhlighting this sad health situation in Mutare which City Council and Ministry of Heath have always ignored. There is garbage accumulation right up the doorsteps in every high density surbab to extent that one wonders what Council personnel, enviroment management agency and Dr. Parirenyatwa are all being paid for. It's quite sickening.

James Gunike - 14 November 2016

Thank you for highlighting this issue. The hoarding of water in uncovered containers is common in Dangamvura because of the intermittent supply of water. This has resulted in mosquitoes finding breeding grounds. I thought the article would also look at the morbidity as well as the malaria deaths in the suburb. I lost my mother in February this year a day and half after she was diagnosed with malaria. She stayed in Dangamvura.

Mr C - 15 November 2016

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